Imperial Sugar facility rebuild progressing 'nicely'

by Eric Schroeder
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SUGAR LAND, TEXAS — Saying the rebuild project "continues to progress nicely," John Sheptor, president and chief executive officer of Imperial Sugar Co., on April 13 updated the status of the company’s rebuild of its Port Wentworth, Ga., refinery that was extensively damaged in February 2008.

Imperial Sugar said it has spent approximately $54 million of an estimated $200 million to $220 million in construction costs through the end of March. Also as of March 31, the company has cash balances of $79 million and available, undrawn revolving credit capacity of $55 million, after deducting $30 million of outstanding borrowings under that facility.

From a production standpoint, Imperial Sugar said it plans to begin producing granulated bulk sugar at the Port Wentworth facility by late May, with complete restoration of the packaging capabilities by the fall of 2009.

"The rebuild project continues to progress nicely and we are on track to begin bulk sugar production in late May," Mr. Sheptor said. "Our employees are enthusiastic about the project and we are working closely with our customers and suppliers to coordinate the restart of the refinery. Discussions with representatives of our insurance companies continue productively, and an additional $35 million of advances were received in March."

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